If someone were to ask me right now how my relationship with God is, I could say wholeheartedly that I feel closer to Him now, more than I have in a long time. Good for me, right? Wrong.
When I thought about why I feel so close to Him now and not all the time, I realized it was because there was some struggles going on in my life and I ran to Him as my comfort. I also quickly noticed that I wasn't reading my Bible, I wasn't listening to the right music, and I wasn't devoting enough of my time to Jesus. So naturally I thought to myself, this HAD to be the reason for the hard times I was experiencing. Logical, right? I can’t be the only one that, when life gets tough, switches my radio station to positive, encouraging, K-LOVE or makes sure that every song on my iPod and the songs I get stuck in my head are worship songs. Ever notice how your Bible somehow gets used every day, if not twice a day when those types of trials come your way? Don’t even get me started on the drastic change in my prayer life! You’d think I would feel great about the improvements in my spiritual life, but I couldn't help but feel guilty.
The only reason I was worshiping Him daily, getting into the Word and praying consistently throughout the day was because I wanted the hard times to be fixed ASAP! Every prayer was asking God to intervene and fix the things that need fixing. I read with expectations, hoping that something would pop out and apply to my current situation. I worshiped hoping that God would see my good deeds and come fix my life. It made me realize how inconsistent my relationship with God can be. When everything is good, I don’t think I need Him to come and help me. “I got this, God! You can take a break on this one.” I am confident and I am going throughout my day with my head held just a little bit higher, but not thanking God for any of it.
I was reading through Ecclesiastes when I came across this verse: “Enjoy prosperity while you can. But when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. That way you will realize that nothing is certain in this life.” If that wasn't a slap in the face, I don’t know what is. God doesn't ask us to be faithful to Him just when times are tough. He does promise us that He will take care of us throughout those trials and tribulations, but also that those trials and tribulations come from Him to help us grow into stronger people.
Instead, He wants to celebrate with us in the good times as well as help us through the bad. I’m not a mother, but I know that my parents love being able to celebrate my siblings and my accomplishments with us just as much as they want to be there through the hard times in our lives. My parents made it to every award ceremony and major celebration in my life, but are still just a phone call away when things are tough. I believe our God is the same way. He wants us to feel comfortable coming to Him for strength and encouragement, but he also wants us to come to Him excited about the goodness in our life. I picture God wanting us to run to him in excitement with our arms stretched towards Him just as a child runs to his mom or dad after hitting a home run in his first little league baseball game, leaping into their arms. God is proud of us when we do good and wants to lift us up in His arms and embrace us just as much as when we come on our knees, crying out for strength just to make it through the day. Both are equally important to Him. I feel challenged to include God in my celebrations just as much as I include Him in my worries.